Hospitalizations have nearly tripled over the last week as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in the Yuba-Sutter area. Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said that action needs to be taken now to prevent the current situation from worsening.

The best way to do that, she said, is by not attending social gatherings with individuals outside one’s household, staying home when sick, and wearing a facial covering while out in public.

Luu said she fully expects to see more hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks to come, as those tend to lag behind case spikes. She said the hospital has plans in place to handle a surge, but the circumstances are much different now than they were earlier in the pandemic as medical facilities across the country struggle with staffing levels.

“This is why now, more than ever, it’s crucial we all do our parts at home to slow the spread to prevent sickness, to prevent hospitalizations, to prevent deaths, so it doesn’t all land on the shoulders of the area’s only hospital and already stressed, worn down healthcare providers,” Luu said.

The number of confirmed cases increased by 122 on Thursday, bringing the area’s total to 4,307 cases.

Twenty-four people were hospitalized as of Thursday evening, while 20 residents recovered from the virus. Twenty-three local residents have died due to COVID-19 to date.

Local testing sites have also seen a significant uptick in demand recently, which has led to appointment delays at the area’s OptumServe sites. Luu said there are other sites that offer testing to the community, including Peach Tree Health in Linda, Ampla Health in Olivehurst and Yuba City, and select retail pharmacies like Rite-Aid and CVS.

“Please do not go to the hospital ER if you do not have an urgent medical need,” she said. “Our hospital is already stressed.”

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